Nick Faldo would love a second bite of the cherry as Ryder Cup captain and the chance to lead out star pupils like Rory McIlroy.
Europe’s defeated Ryder Cup skipper will play for the first time in 12 months when he tees it up alongside former Faldo Series graduate McIlroy and Irish World Cup pair Graeme McDowell and Paul McGinley in this week’s UBS Hong Kong Open.
And he admitted that he would jump at the chance to captain the Ryder Cup team for the second time with proteges like McIlroy and English stars Ollie Fisher and Nick Dougherty likely to form the backbone of future sides.
McIlroy, 19, has made a sensational start to his professional career and is targeting a maiden victory in Hong Kong that would catapult him to the world’s top 40.
And Faldo is not in the least surprised by the Holywood star’s meteoric rise to fame having watched him from an early age.
Faldo said: "Rory was just 11 when he first joined the Faldo Junior Series and while he had been playing for a while, I could see back then he was a very talented youngster.
"I helped him quite a bit when I had Team Faldo, as I called it, and I remember we had a very good session together at Brocket Hall and then in Ireland at Ballyliffin.
"Rory's a very talented guy. He came straight out and I wasn't surprised. He had some freedom to play in the Open at Carnoustie last year, and he obviously loved the weather.
"But guys like Rory and Ollie Fisher and of course, Nick Dougherty, they were different. They had more hand-and-eye coordination than the others, and they had that look in their eye.It was that inner confidence that's the most important thing.
"And when you see young fellows like Rory, Ollie Fisher and Nick Dougherty, who is still pretty young, you know the Tour is in good hands. There's such a good breed of low 20s age-wise guys coming through."
Scotland’s Sandy Lyle is the favourite to skipper Europe in the 2010 Ryder Cup in Wales with Jose Maria Olazabal likely to get the nod for Medinah in Chicago in 2012.
But despite taking a hammering for Europe’s 16.5 - 11.5 Ryder Cup loss at Valhalla in September, Faldo confessed that he’d love a second chance to skipper the European side.
Faldo said: “I really enjoyed it. I loved the experience and I thought the team atmosphere was great. We all got on great and I loved that buzz.
"A month after I thought 'wow, I miss the guys'. I hadn't been in that situation for 11 years since my last Ryder Cup.
"It is such a special event and if something happens further down the road I will certainly think about.”
McDowell and McGinley are using the Hong Kong Open as a warm up for next week’s Omega Mission Hills World Cup.
And after a week sunning himself on the beaches of Phuket in Thailand, McDowell is looking forward to improving on his 16th place finish in the season-opening HSBC Champions.
McGinley also had last week off after finishing fourth behind Ernie Els in the Hassan II Trophy in Morocco.
Keen to build on that performance, he said: “Even though this is a 2009 event, I am still in 2008 season mode but after a poor ending to my season if I could finish on a high this week and next week then I would be very happy.”